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US airdrops meals, water into northern Gaza where aid has been limited

The U.S. Central Command announced it dropped water and meals into northern Gaza on Saturday, as critical aid to the region has been limited.

Central Command said it dropped 41,400 meal equivalents and 23,000 bottles of water into "an area of great need, allowing for civilian access to the critical aid."

The joint operation included U.S. Air Force C-130 aircraft and U.S. Army soldiers specialized in aerial delivery of U.S humanitarian assistance supplies.

PHOTO: This photo released by U.S. Central Command shows a joint operation to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza, utilizing U.S. Air Force C-130 aircraft and U.S. Army Soldiers specialized in aerial delivery of U.S humanitarian assistance supplies. (U.S. Central Command)
PHOTO: This photo released by U.S. Central Command shows a joint operation to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza, utilizing U.S. Air Force C-130 aircraft and U.S. Army Soldiers specialized in aerial delivery of U.S humanitarian assistance supplies. (U.S. Central Command)
PHOTO: A U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules deployed to an undisclosed location in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, is loaded with humanitarian aid destined for an airdrop over Gaza, on March 5, 2024.  (U.S. Air Forces)
PHOTO: A U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules deployed to an undisclosed location in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, is loaded with humanitarian aid destined for an airdrop over Gaza, on March 5, 2024. (U.S. Air Forces)

The death toll in Gaza has risen to 30,960, the enclave's Hamas-run Health Ministry said on Saturday. The health ministry said at least 72,524 people have been injured in Gaza since the war began on Oct. 7. Hamas forces launched an incursion into southern Israel that day, killing 1,200 people, according to Israeli officials.

At least 23 people have now died of malnutrition in the Gaza strip after 3 children passed away in the Al-Shifa complex, Gaza's Health Ministry announced.

MORE: 5 children killed in humanitarian aid airdrop, Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health says

The U.S. said the airdrops are part of a "sustained effort and we continue to plan follow on aerial deliveries."

The aid drop comes amid continued calls from international humanitarian organizations for a ceasefire -- as the Holy month of Ramadan approaches -- and a release of the Israeli hostages.

"There is nowhere safe for people to go. The civilian death toll and the ongoing captivity of hostages are shocking and unacceptable," the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent said in a statement Saturday.

PHOTO: United States Air Force drops humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, on March 9, 2024.  (Mohammed Hajjar/AP)
PHOTO: United States Air Force drops humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, on March 9, 2024. (Mohammed Hajjar/AP)
PHOTO: United States Air Force drops humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, on March 9, 2024. (Mahmoud Essa/AP)
PHOTO: United States Air Force drops humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, on March 9, 2024. (Mahmoud Essa/AP)

"Alleviating the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza starts with a clear will and measures that safeguard civilian life and human dignity, meaning both sides must conduct their military operations in a way that spares the civilians who are caught in the middle," the ICRC said.

MORE: Hundreds of truckloads of aid for Gaza stuck as more lives lost to malnutrition, some aid organizations say

President Joe Biden said on Friday that the chances of securing a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas before Ramadan are "tough."

The U.S. Department of Defense said it will also undertake an emergency mission to establish a temporary pier in Gaza, working quickly to deploy joint logistics over-the-shore capability to get aid into Gaza by sea.

Once established, it is estimated that over 2 million meals could be provided to the citizens of Gaza per day, according to the Pentagon.

-ABC News' Cindy Smith, Matt Seyler and Fritz Farrow contributed to this report.

US airdrops meals, water into northern Gaza where aid has been limited originally appeared on abcnews.go.com